By Sophia Joyce
Hundreds of youth activists across Australia went doorknocking on Sunday to discuss the importance of foreign aid.
Volunteers from the Oaktree Foundation and Campaign for Australian Aid joined forces for a strategic face-to-face campaign to spread the word about recent $224 million cuts to the national foreign aid budget.
Campaign for Australian Aid’s Director Tony Milne says they partnered with Oaktree to stand up for building a better and more equal world.
“The fact that young people are willing to give up a weekend to knock on doors and have conversations with the public about the importance of Australian aid shows a growing movement that politicians should pay attention to,” he said.
Oaktree’s West Australian State Director Amanda Chong agrees and says both organisations want to create a cut-free environment and see the aid budget rise from 0.2% GNI (Gross National Income) to 0.7% GNI by 2030, which translates to 70 cents per $100.
“Aid is currently at the lowest it has ever been since we started recording and what we really want is to talk to the Australian public about this issue because we find that a lot of people share the same values.”
Ms Chong says the campaign was designed with Campaign for Australian Aid to put pressure on the Australian government by demonstrating that aid is still an important issue.
The event follows a string of campaigns, face-to-face conversations and meetings with local politicians on the topic of aid and extreme poverty.
Oaktree’s Assistant State Director Shrena Shah says she volunteered for the event because foreign aid is essential to people living in poverty.
“It’s a life or death situation for them and it’s saving lives, creating opportunities and helping children living in extreme poverty,” she says.
The signatures Oaktree and Campaign for Australian Aid collect from the event will be collated and delivered to the federal government in the coming weeks.
Click to listen to the extended interview with Oaktree’s WA State Director, Amanda Chong.